Jimmy Barnes slams 'Reclaim' racists for using his songs

'None of these people represent me and I do not support them.'
July 22, 2015

Singer Jimmy Barnes, best known as frontman for iconic Australian pub rock band Cold Chisel, released a statement slamming the far-right Reclaim Australia movement for using his songs at their rallies.

In a statement on his official Facebook page, Barnes said: “It has come to my attention that certain groups of people have been using my voice, my songs as their anthems at rallies.

“I only want to say the Australia I belong to and love is a tolerant Australia. A place that is open and giving. It is a place that embraces all sorts of different people, in fact it is made stronger by the diversity of its people.

“If you look at my family you can see we are a multicultural family. Australia needs to stand up for Love and Tolerance in these modern times.

“None of these people represent me and I do not support them.”

In case any Reclaim supporters hoped other Chisel members might prove more sympathetic, Cold Chisel's official Facebook page reposted the statement, adding: “Well said Jimmy”.

The two songs reported to have been played at Reclaim rallies are the Chisel's “Khe Sanh” and Barnes' solo hit “Working Class Man”.

Not only has Barnes' performed “Working Class Man” in recent years at trade union rallies – involving the sort of “lefty scum” Reclaim supporters rail against – but “Khe Sanh” is an odd choice for proud “Aussie patriots” to identify with.

The song, written by Chisel member Don Walker, is about a soldier who returns from the Vietnam War and, suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, finds himself so disgusted with and alienated from Australia, he leaves the country.

Barnes was joined in his stand by John Farnham, whose 1987 hit “Your the Voice” had also featured at Reclaim rallies. Farnham's long time manager Glenn Wheatley called the use of the song “disgusting” and said: “John and I are seriously opposed to the use of John's song at the rallies. It no way reflects our support in any way.”

This is not the first time a far-right movement has been told to stop using a band's song. An especially ridiculous example came in 2013 when the far-right English Defence League used the song “If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next” by left-wing Welsh rockers the Manic Street Preachers.

Apparently, the EDL failed the notice the song was actually an anthem in support of the internationalist socialists who volunteered in the 1930s to fight against the far-right in the Spanish civil war - and includes the line “So if I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot fascists”.

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